Engineers might not be well known for their people skills, but Moore Engineering Inc. prides itself on making relationships with clients that last years and even decades, not just the length of one project.
Moore Engineering was founded 51 years ago by brothers Marshall and Clifford Moore in Fargo. Jeff Volk, president and CEO of Moore Engineering, said they moved their headquarters from Fargo to West Fargo in 1964 and have been there ever since.
The company formed an employee stock ownership plan in 1998 to allow partial ownership by company employees, and has been 100-percent employee owned since 2004.
"We have about 100 full-time employees today," Volk said. "We grow in the summertime with our seasonal work, but we've been on a steady growth pattern for probably the last 15 years."
Moore Engineering handles many areas of civil engineering, including municipal, water resources and land surveying. Volk said they focus primarily on municipal and water resources, and within municipal they do transportation, environmental and utilities for things such as city expansion.
"One of the things that is unique, we think, to Moore Engineering is we focus on the clients. We do a lot of projects, but our focus is on the clients' needs. We feel we do an awful good job of identifying the services they need to make a project successful, and not just the engineering services - the public involvement, the finance needs, things on that line," Volk said. "We help them pull the whole package together so that they can be successful in developing their infrastructure, revitalizing their community, whatever their needs are."
Along with the headquarters in West Fargo, Moore Engineering has a branch office in Fergus Falls, Minn., and the new office in Minot.
"Our work area is North Dakota and Minnesota right now," Volk said. "With the Minot office it's going to give us the opportunity to provide more clients the same types of services we do in all our offices in the north-central and northwestern parts of the state."
Working in West Fargo, Moore has ample experience solving flood problems, which will serve it well in the Magic City.
The new Minot office is located at 315 S. Main St., Suite 100, and the phone number is 839-1590. This is only a temporary location, however, and the office will eventually be moving to 2730-30th St. NW.
Brock Storrusten, who worked for Moore for 17 years before leaving for another opportunity in North Carolina in 2010, is back at Moore and has been the Minot branch manager since Dec. 5. At the moment Storrusten is the only employee in the Minot office, but he is looking to fill up to nine positions as soon as possible.
Storrusten will be hiring for three distinct groups - one to two people in computer-aided design, a couple of project engineers as well as a graduate engineer, and a full-time survey crew.
"We have 110 employees in our office in West Fargo, out of our headquarters, and we will supplement our needs up here with some from the West Fargo office," Storrusten said.
Anyone interested in applying can go to Moore's website at (www.mooreengineeringinc.com), email Joni Smith in human resources at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Storrusten in the Minot office at 839-1590.
Volk said one of the many reasons to work at Moore is the benefits package, which provides added retirement benefits because the company is employee-owned. He said the firm is also generous with profit sharing contributions.
"So I think when applicants start to look at our company and the success we've had in our other offices, it's going to help Brock place candidates into Minot and help them be successful." Volk said.
"The one thing when I'm interviewing candidates that I promote with Moore Engineering is the people that work here. People are very passionate about what they do, very friendly, it's a family-type atmosphere that we have within the company," Storrusten added. "So I think that's a large benefit for the applicants as well."
As for why Minot was chosen for a new office, the energy industry only played a part in the decision. Storrusten said an external partner, Pivotal Management Consulting, helped determine the location based upon a few different criteria.
The lifestyle Minot residents enjoy was a big factor. The arts and many different amenities Minot offers makes it an attractive city to move into. Being on the fringe of the oil patch also helped.
"Also we have clients that are in this area. Our present clients in West Fargo and in that surrounding area in the eastern part of the state are doing work out in this area. So we've been commuting back and forth, which is a very arduous task," Storrusten said. "So in the end, to better serve our clients that we have existing in this area, we figured Minot would serve the clients that we have today, as well."
Nick Gludt, vice president of Moore Engineering, said they are serving nearly 70 communities out of the West Fargo and Fergus Falls offices, and Minot gives them a better location from which to serve the many towns in the central and western portions of the state.
"We've completed several projects in Minot for some developers. We're also on the team for the Souris/Mouse River study with our water resource department. We're doing work in Harvey, Tioga, Watford City, Rolla, Fessenden, (and) Glenburn," Gludt said. "So we've been ever expanding and it was a good region for us to locate a branch office to better serve those clients."
Realizing how much work needs to be done to rebuild Minot after the Souris River flood, Moore Engineering wanted to let the community know it's here for the long haul. A donation of $16,000 was made to the Minot Area Community Foundation, which will use the money for its flood recovery fund, which helps flooded residents clean up, restore and rebuild their homes.
Volk said Moore has identified a charity at its last couple of Christmas parties to raise donations for. While it might have been a little early for a Christmas party, that didn't stop Moore Engineering when it opened the Minot office in early December.
"This year when we opened in Minot it was clear there was a need there, and so we just asked our employees to consider having a fun night, maybe making a little extra donation if possible. And the company committed to match dollar for dollar every dollar that an employee put in the basket; so we doubled their money," Volk said. "At the end of the night, we were just under $8,000 in the employee bucket, so the next morning I signed an $8,000 check."
Ken Kitzman, president of Minot Area Community Foundation, and Megan Laudenschlager, finance director of MACF, were shocked at the size of the donation.
"When we found out the details, it was one of those magic moments when you just realize the (generosity). We haven't met these people, they're from the eastern part of the state, probably not a lot of connections to the greater Minot area, but yet at the same time, personally they got engaged. And then the corporate citizenship also got engaged," Kitzman said. "So for us it's overwhelming to see."
The flood recovery fund is up to $6.5 million, and MACF still has over half of it to give out.
Laudenschlager said they've given out $2.5 million to 1,200 people so far, and they still have another 2,000 people to go.
"And Tawnya Bernsdorf (MACF program director) has been great about training volunteers and coordinating volunteers and making sure everything runs smoothly," Laudenschlager said.
Many companies say they put people first, but Moore Engineering truly puts its money where its mouth is. Kitzman said the flood recovery fund has helped a lot of people, and he's incredibly grateful to Moore Engineering and all its employees for making such a generous contribution.
"I'm just glad we were able to be a part of it," Volk said.